As it usually it does, it came down to the final event between Shenendehowa and Niskayuna.
Niskayuna won — but not by enough.
In the battle between the two Capital Region girls’ swimming powers, Shen came out on top, winning Section II Division I title on Saturday eight points — holding onto a leading that could not be closed at the end.
Not a person in the pool area was sitting during the final event: the 400-yard freestyle relay. Niskayuna glided to an easy victory (3:36.94), followed by Guilderland-Voorheesville (3:41:04).
Shenendehowa came in third with 3:42:32. But the Plainsmen’s 32 points earned were enough for the overall win. All three relay teams qualified to compete in States.
Niskayuna held the lead for a majority of the meet, but after losing the 100-yard breaststroke, they were unable to bounce back, losing to Shenendehowa 402-394. Saratoga Springs took third (302), while Guilderland-Voorheesville came in fourth (277).
“I couldn’t be prouder for our team. And I put an emphasis on team,” Shenendehowa head coach Chuck Dunham said. “There were so many girls that came from under the radar tonight and stepped up.”
After the meet, the Shenendehowa team jumped into the pool in celebration, their shouts of “We’re No. 1!” cracked from cheering on their teammates throughout the day. Proud parents lined up around the pool deck, armed with smartphones to capture the moment.
Coming into the meet, Shen didn’t expect this moment of euphoria.
“I can’t believe we won. We had an invitational last week and didn’t do so hot,” said Shenendehowa’s Mary Sunukjian. “But we all collectively pulled together.”
Shenendehowa started the meet taking second in the 200 medley relay to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake-Scotia-Glenville, which won with a time of 1:49:70. Julia Samson (Shenendehowa) won the 200 freestyle in 1.53.66, which qualified her for the New York State Championships. Niskayuna’s Elaine Lipkin and Beca Piascik came in second and third, earning a combined total of 32.5 points for their team. BH-BL/S-G’s Olivia Jack hit a AAA time in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:02.56.
Other notable athletes of the day were Saratoga Spring’s Taylor Patnode, who won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.44, and Scotia-Glenville’s Olivia Jack, who took first in the 100 butterfly (56.74). Niskayuna’s Maggie Wyngowski scored big, earning 20 points for Niskayuna in the 200-yard IM (2:05.35.)
“Yesterday was really close, and to bounce back and be this competitive was a success,” said Niskayuna swimming and diving head coach Steve Hall.
In diving, contested Thursday at Mohonasen High School, Saratoga Springs’ Felicity Ryan won the Section II Division I title with a score of 508.75.
Despite their defeat, the Niskayuna girls proudly held their sectional plaque and looked toward the future with hope.
“We’re looking forward to having another fun year, working really hard and coming back to win,” Wyngowski said.
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Categories: High School Sports, Sports